Tuesday, May 31, 2011

05312011 - Domestic Violence murder of Cheryl Miller - Kouts Indiana - Porter County divorce case

DV victims murdered during their Porter County divorce cases









In April 2011, Cheryl Miller obtained a personal protective order against her husband. He was removed from the marital home by the police. On April 13th, Cheryl and her husband filed for divorce in Porter County. It was never disclosed if the divorce  case was before Magistrate Forbes....or Magistrate Johnson.











On May 31st, Cheryl's ex-husband came to her residence and fire-bombed it. Both Cheryl and her teenage son escaped the blast....











....However, as Cheryl ran down the driveway to escape the fire, her ex-husband shot and killed her.










Cheryl was the second domestic violence victim who had filed for divorce in Porter County, who was murdered by thier ex-husband within a one-month period of time...









....Domestic violence victim Cynthia Cashner had been murdered by her ex-husband in April 2011...Just weeks after she had filed for divorce before Magistrate Johnson in Porter County.










2 dead in Kouts firebombing, suicide
Post Tribune

Colleen Sikorski And Teresa Auch Schultz
May 31, 2011 8:35AM
Updated: August 4, 2011 4:20PM
http://posttrib.suntimes.com/news/5692139-418/2-dead-in-kouts-firebombing-suicide.html


South County Road 200E, Kouts Indiana. 


 Kouts Indiana






As the burnt house smoldered Tuesday, nine hours after the fire, Porter County Sheriff’s Police were still investigating the apparent firebombing death of a Kouts woman at the hands of her estranged husband.

Police responded to 1269 S. County Road 200E in Pleasant Township in rural Kouts, at approximately 3 a.m. Tuesday for a domestic disturbance that claimed the lives of Frederick Miller, 59, and his wife, Cheryl Miller, 52, Porter County Coroner Chuck Harris said.

Police said the husband came to the residence and threw a flammable device through a window. The man’s estranged wife and the couple’s 19-year-old son, J.J., were home at the time. The son was able to escape and called police after hearing several gunshots from near the residence, police said.

The Millers lived on a dead-end gravel road. The nearest neighbor’s house cannot be seen from their residence.

When police arrived, they saw the residence fully engulfed in flames, and found Cheryl Miller dead in the driveway. Frederick Miller was also found dead on the property from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to a news release.

Family acquaintance Kris Hendrickson, who has known the family for 12 years, said her two sons were friends with J.J. Miller, and her sons were with J.J. late Monday evening.

Hendrickson also knew Cheryl Miller as a customer at the post office where Hendrickson works.
"The mom always came into the post office," Hendrickson said.

Hendrickson said she chatted at length with Cheryl Miller during the woman’s frequent post office trips.
Harris said an autopsy on both will likely take place Wednesday, but it appears both Millers died from gunshot wounds in a murder-suicide.

In April, Frederick Miller was removed from the home by police, a Porter County Sheriff’s Department release noted.

According to the Porter County Clerk’s Office, Cheryl Miller applied for a protective order from her husband. A Porter County judge granted her the order in April and declared the husband be removed from the residence. The couple filed for divorce April 13


Cpl. Larry Laflower, public information officer for Porter County Sheriff’s Department, said protective orders are common when couples who file for divorce have a violent relationship.

Porter County Sheriff’s Department detectives are handling the investigation, along with the Porter County Coroner’s Office.










Kouts murder-suicide
NWI Times
Jon L. Hendricks


May 31, 2011 12:52 pm 
 The charred remains of a home smolder after an apparent murder-suicide early Tuesday in Pleasant Township, near Kouts. Police believe Frederick Miller threw a Molotov cocktail through a window of the home and then shot his estranged wife, Cheryl Miller, before killing himself. The couple's 19-year-old son, J.J. Miller, was asleep at the time but escaped unharmed.




J.J. Miller, the 19-year-old son of Frederick and Cheryl Miller walks around his family's smoldering home Tuesday. Police said his estranged father threw a Molotov cocktail through the window, shot his wife and then turned the gun on himself. J.J. escaped before the shooting began.











Pleasant Township couple dead in apparent murder-suicide
NWI Times
Jeff Burton
May 31, 2011 - 4:45 pm
http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/porter/kouts/pleasant-township-couple-dead-in-apparent-murder-suicide/article_b7cc0f0e-c74a-595f-857b-47663c9c9830.html

J.J. Miller, the 19-year-old son of Frederick and Cheryl Miller walks around his family's smoldering home Tuesday. Police said his estranged father threw a Molotov cocktail through the window, shot his wife and then turned the gun on himself. J.J. escaped before the shooting began. Jon L. Hendricks. The Times



The charred remains of a home smolder after an apparent murder-suicide early Tuesday in Pleasant Township, near Kouts. Police believe Frederick Miller threw a Molotov cocktail through a window of the home and then shot his estranged wife, Cheryl Miller, before killing himself. The couple's 19-year-old son, J.J. Miller, was asleep at the time but escaped unharmed. Jon L. Hendricks. The Times




The Porter County bomb squad truck leaves the scene of an apparent early morning murder-suicide near Kouts on Tuesday. Jon L. Hendricks. The Times



A charred car and still smoking ashes are all that remain Tuesday morning at the site of an apparent murder-suicide near a home along the Kankakee River. Jon L. Hendricks. The Times



J.J. Miller, right hugs friend Kris Hendrickson after his parents were killed Tuesday in an apparent murder-suicide near Kouts. Jon L. Hendricks.The Times

PLEASANT TOWNSHIP - An estranged husband and wife were found dead Tuesday morning in an apparent murder-suicide, officials said.

Frederick Miller, 59, and Cheryl Miller, 52, suffered apparent gunshot wounds, Porter County Coroner Chuck Harris said.

According to Porter County sheriff's police, officers were called around 3 a.m. Tuesday to a home in the 1200 block of South County Road 200 East, just north of the Kankakee River, for a reported domestic disturbance.

Police believe Frederick Miller threw a makeshift Molotov cocktail through a window in the home where his estranged wife and 19-year-old son were inside. Police said the man was served with a protective order in April and previously removed from the home by police.

Police said the couple's son, J.J. Miller, was able to escape the home and call police. He reportedly told officers he heard several gunshots from near the residence.

Police said when they arrived, they found the home fully engulfed in flames. Officers reported Cheryl Miller was found dead in the driveway and Frederick Miller was also found dead on the property from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Tuesday morning, only smoldering embers and a charred car remained at the site of the home adjacent to the Kankakee River.

Porter County detectives are heading the investigation, along with the Porter County coroner's office.

Harris said a forensic autopsy is scheduled for today in Mishawaka.










Porter County coroner: Deaths look to be murder-suicide

WSBT News
May 31, 2011
http://articles.wsbt.com/2011-05-31/murder-suicide_29606628
KOUTS, Ind. (AP) — The Porter County coroner says a 52-year-old woman and her estranged husband were found shot to death and her house was fully engulfed in flames in what appears to be a murder-suicide.

Coroner Chuck Harris says a preliminary examination indicates that Cheryl Miller and 59-year-old Frederick Miller both died of gunshot wounds. He says an autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday.

The Times of Munster and the Post-Tribune of Merrillville report that the couple's 19-year-old son escaped from the home in rural Kouts about 3 a.m. Tuesday after Frederick Miller threw a flammable device through a window in the house. The sheriff's department says the son called police and reported hearing several gunshots.

The sheriff's department says Frederick Miller was removed from the home by police in April.










Porter County Corner Says a 52-year-old Woman and Her Estranged Husband were Found Shot to Death and Her House Burned

The Republic
May 31, 2011
http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/f5bcdf64744245a39ca9a75ef5593f8b/IN--Kouts-Shooting/
KOUTS, Ind. — The Porter County coroner says a 52-year-old woman and her estranged husband were found shot to death and her house was fully engulfed in flames in what appears to be a murder-suicide.

Coroner Chuck Harris says a preliminary examination indicates that Cheryl Miller and 59-year-old Frederick Miller both died of gunshot wounds. He says an autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday.

The Times of Munster and the Post-Tribune of Merrillville report that the couple's 19-year-old son escaped from the home in rural Kouts about 3 a.m. Tuesday after Frederick Miller threw a flammable device through a window in the house. The sheriff's department says the son called police and reported hearing several gunshots.

The sheriff's department says Frederick Miller was removed from the home by police in April.











Police release names in apparent murder/suicide

Chesterton Tribune
Posted 5/31/2011
http://chestertontribune.com/PoliceFireEmergency/61112%20pcsp_releases_names_in_apparent.htm

The Porter County Sheriff’s Police has released the names of the Pleasant Township couple found dead at their home near Kouts early Tuesday morning, in an apparent murder/suicide.

The victim, Cheryl Miller, 52, was found to have multiple gunshot wounds to her back, Coroner Chuck Harris told the Chesterton Tribune today; her estranged husband, Frederick Miller, 59, a single gunshot wound to the head.

An autopsy was scheduled for this morning in Mishawaka. Harris was unable to say what sort of gun was used in the incident.

According to police, sometime prior to 3 a.m. Frederick Miller—who in April had been served with a protective order and removed from the residence at 1269S 200E—went to his wife’s home and threw a "flammable device" through a window. Both Cheryl Miller and her 19-year-old son were in the house at the time, police said, and the son, after hearing gunshots from near the residence, was able to flee and call 911.

On their arrival, officers found the home fully engulfed and Cheryl Miller deceased in the driveway and Frederick Miller deceased elsewhere on the property, police said.

"This case is being investigated as a possible murder/suicide and there is no evidence that suggests anyone else being involved in the incident," police said.










Cheryl Miller Obituary
Published in Post-Tribune

June 2, 2011
Cheryl Miller

Miller, Cheryl A. (Stevens) Cheryl A. (Stevens) Miller, 52, of Kouts, passed away Tuesday, May 31, 2011. She was born October 10, 1958 in Valparaiso to Ronald N. and Margaret J. (Hineline) Stevens. She was a graduate of Valparaiso High School and had been the manager at Marti's Place at Ramsey's Landing in Hebron. Cheryl enjoyed designing and making jewelry as well as a variety of other arts and crafts, and she was an avid gardener. Survivors include her son, JJ Miller of Kouts; step daughter, Layla (Jeff) Morgan of San Diego, CA; her father, Ron Stevens of Valparaiso; one sister, Leslie (Bruce) Richart of Porter; two nieces, Rebecca (Anthony) Tharp and Annette Stevens; four nephews, Jeremiah, Joshua and Ryan Richart, and Travis Stevens. She was preceded in death by her mother, Margaret Stevens. A funeral service will be held on Saturday at 11:00 AM at Kosanke Funeral Home in Kouts with Pastor Jay Birky officiating. Visitation will be Friday from 5:00 to 7:00 PM. In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to the "Benefit of JJ Miller" account at DeMotte State Bank.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

05252011 - News Article - Magistrate James Johnson tenders his resignation - Magistrate James Johnson judicial investigation



Magistrate James Johnson tenders his resignation
Post Tribune
May 25, 2011
http://infoweb.newsbank.com.proxy.portagelibrary.info/resources/doc/nb/news/13772B895A6917D8?p=AWNB

VALPARAISO — Magistrate James Johnson tendered his resignation on Tuesday after serving 22 years on the bench.

The resignation follows a week where the 64-year-old Johnson was gone for an undisclosed illness. His last day is scheduled for Aug. 1.

“I’m not longer able to perform my duties,” Johnson wrote in a resignation letter to Porter Superior Court Judge Roger Bradford.

Johnson has a history of heart problems that have led to a caseload backup, necessitating the county judges to assign a probate commissioner to catch them up.

He recently had medical procedures done in January.

Bradford said that there is a backload of cases but “nowhere near what it was before.”

Johnson wasn’t available for comment.

The six Porter County judges are responsible for selecting a replacement for Johnson, and they’ll announce a procedure for that after their June 14 meeting.

Johnson will no longer take on new cases as of the end of this week so that he can finish his current caseload by August.

Bradford said if the magistrate finishes one a day, he’ll be done with his caseload before August.

A magistrate usually handles divorce, family law and estate cases. In July 2010, Johnson had about 97 cases backlogged.

Johnson is a 1974 graduate of the Valparaiso University School of Law and has been a deputy public defender and a deputy prosecuting attorney.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

05242011 - News Article - Porter County magistrate resigns amid case backlog - Magistrate James Johnson judicial investigation



Porter County magistrate resigns amid case backlog
NWI Times

May 24, 2011 
http://www.nwitimes.com/mobile/article_fa492759-e4bb-55d6-8099-607d733bd94d.html

VALPARAISO - A Porter County magistrate who had amassed a large backlog of cases has tendered his resignation.

Magistrate James Johnson will stop hearing cases at the end of this week and will officially retire Aug. 1, said Porter Superior Court Judge Roger Bradford, who supervises Johnson. Johnson will use that time to clear the cases, Bradford said.

Johnson's backlog of cases came to light in July 2010 when the courts reported he had 97 cases he had not yet ruled on. A part-time probate commissioner was hired to help clear the backlog.

Bradford on Tuesday said the situation with Johnson's cases had improved for some time, but he had fallen behind again. Bradford did not disclose the number of cases pending currently before Johnson, but he did say it was not as high the 97 cases reported last summer.

Johnson is one of Porter County's two adult magistrates who handle divorce, estate and guardianship cases.


Johnson, 64, is a 1974 graduate of the Valparaiso University School of Law and served as a deputy public defender and deputy prosecutor. He was appointed as Porter County probate commissioner in April 1989 and became a magistrate in 1995.

Bradford said the selection process for Johnson's replacement will be decided at a June 14 meeting of all the Porter County judges.



05242011 - News Article - Porter County magistrate stepping down - Magistrate James Johnson judicial investigation



Porter County magistrate stepping down
Post Tribune

May 24, 2011
Updated: August 4, 2011
http://posttrib.suntimes.com/news/porter/5571828-418/porter-county-magistrate-stepping-down.html

VALPARAISO — Magistrate James Johnson tendered his resignation on Tuesday after serving 22 years on the bench.

The resignation follows a week where the 64-year-old Johnson was gone for an undisclosed illness. His last day is scheduled for Aug. 1.

"I’m not longer able to perform my duties," Johnson wrote in a resignation letter to Porter Superior Court Judge Roger Bradford.

Johnson has a history of heart problems that have led to a caseload backup, necessitating the county judges to assign a probate commissioner to catch them up.


He recently had medical procedures done in January.

Bradford said that there is a backload of cases but "nowhere near what it was before."

Johnson wasn’t available for comment.

The six Porter County judges are responsible for selecting a replacement for Johnson, and they’ll announce a procedure for that after their June 14 meeting.

Johnson will no longer take on new cases as of the end of this week so that he can finish his current caseload by August.

Bradford said if the magistrate finishes one a day, he’ll be done with his caseload before August.

A magistrate usually handles divorce, family law and estate cases.

In July 2010, Johnson had about 97 cases backlogged.

Johnson is a 1974 graduate of the Valparaiso University School of Law and has been a deputy public defender and a deputy prosecuting attorney.